A Blaze Of Feather - earlier in the year the name started popping up on a number of festival bills, including Boardmasters, but masked by all the mystery and intrigue, no one could find out who they actually were. Fast forward a couple of months, and the word was out - A Blaze Of Feather was the latest outlet from creative genius Mickey Smith - with none other than Ben Howard on board. In full, the band is formed of Mickey Smith, Ben Howard, India Bourne, Nat Wason, Rich Thomas, and former Hiss Golden Messenger drummer Kyle Keegan. We sat down with Mickey ahead of their set this Summer...
Hey Mickey, thanks for taking the time out to chat to us. Tell us a little about how A Blaze Of Feather started...
Well I guess while we had a break from touring we were all just meeting up and playing together as much as we could. A lot of cosmic sonic explorations were going down and with all kinds of songs starting to shine through we just rolled on with the wild vibes from there.
There has been a fair amount of mystery surrounding the band, was this intentional?
We've just been concentrating on the music and enjoying the process really. Maybe peoples genuine interest in things Ben's working on sparked that initial curiosity and it's spun on from there. The supports been amazing to be honest it's been really overwhelming.
Is there a story behind the name?
Well it resonates on a personal level in different ways and it's open to interpretation, but it originally came from trying to draw magical creatures with my daughter. She was drawing a Phoenix and while we were talking about it she said something like 'just a blaze of feather papa' and it really struck me so I wrote I down and there we go.
[Above - Mickey in the studio - photo Jack Johns]
You’ve just released your debut album which we've been so excited to hear (spolier: it's great) - you must be bursting with pride?
It's all unfolded so quickly to be honest we are just trying to keep pace with it and really appreciate each step. It's a wild feeling with songs so personal it's scary opening up like that but weirdly liberating at the same time.
You’ve got a few intimate shows lined up ahead of Boardmasters, a mini tour of the South West. How important is Cornwall to you?
It's going to be epic. I grew up in West Cornwall and it's certainly shaped my way of existing in the world. For better or worse it's energy is imprinted on my heart. Since we moved back from Ireland all my family are here too, it certainly means a lot to be playing down here always on a lot of levels.
Describe a day in the life of the band…
Personally I don't sleep much so if we are recording or rehearsing I'll get in there and get going with something and as the others arrive then off we roll into the great beyond. On the road it's open to interpretation, depends on who's kaleidoscopic eyes you might be experiencing it through I guess!
[Studio concentration - photo Jack Johns]
You have of course played at Boardmasters before with Ben Howard, how are you feeling about coming back as A Blaze Of Feather?
It's so mad we are playing at Boardmasters with A Blaze, really buzzing man. I used to work at Boardmasters every summer growing up and it's there that myself Ben and Owain first started hanging out together properly goin' back 8 or 9 years ago, so its always had a real intense nostalgic place in my heart.
[Above - Ben Howard - photo Jack Johns]
Is there anyone on the lineup you are hoping to catch?
I'm a big fan of Sam Fender's voice and also India's Tender Central set. I'm sure alt-J will be epic as always. Man it's a helluva lineup you guys have all put together really, loads to discover.
And finally, do you have any festival DO’s and DON’T’s?
Do go as wonky and wild as the Cornish spirit for the weekend but don't leave your trash behind, just your minds pards.
Fine advice Mickey!